The American cinematographer (Mar 1937)

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94 American Cinematographer • March, 1937 The Child and the Artist LIGHTING SHIRLEY TEMPLE by Arthur Miller, A.S.C. P hotographically as well as personally, photo- graphing Shirley Temple is one of the most interesting assignments of my experience. Perhaps I ought to say "four of the most interesting assignments," since the cur- rent production, "Wee Willie Winkie," is my fourth with Shirley. In a career that goes back longer than I like to think I have photographed many children who were stars and neor-stars. But I never knew anyone like Shirley Temple. It is almost unbelieveable that any seven-year-old could be the focus of such universal acclaim as goes with the fact of being the world's No. 1 box-office personality and still remain unspoiled. But Shirley does it. And this acclaim pursues her into the studio. I have seen distinguished visitors and hard- boiled newspapermen, accustomed to meeting fame on even terms, gawk like yokels when Shirley was working. I can't say I blame them, for Shirley is on unusual little trouper. Her ability for lines and business amazes each new director. Invariably she is letter-perfect in her lines. Often we will shoot three or four pages of dialog in a single scene—and even the most experienced actors might be ex- cused for "blowing" some of Shirley's lines. But not Shirley! I have never known her to miss a line. If we could shoot only for her, we could wrap up every scene in one take. Just for good measure, she is equally familiar with every other player's lines. Not only cues, if you please, but complete speeches. Often I've seen an experienced actor in a scene with Shirley blow up, perhaps in the middle of a long speech. Shirley will look at him, bursting to say "You should say this—"—but she restrains herself, like the little lady she is. On the last picture, "Stowaway," though, she said it. Robert Young has a fine sense of humor, and she knew she could kid him. He took it like a sport—and vowed to return the compliment at the first opportunity. But that opportunity never came! In spite of this, Shirley will never let down o scene. The other players may blow and falter, but she is always ready to pick up the scene and carry it along. I've noticed this in relation to lighting, too. Sometimes an unexpected change in action will make it necessary for Shirley to look toward an unusually strong light. Like any child, she doesn't like looking into high-powered lamps. But, unlike most children, she never shows it. She'll ful- fill the requirements, take as brief as possible a glance toward the offending lamp, and then "cheat" a trifle one Continued on page 100